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Imagine Cup Contest Pushes Students to Develop Technical Design Skills

Microsoft has announced the finalists for its fall round of student competitors in the Imagine Cup USA and opened up registration for the spring round of the competition. The Imagine Cup, open to students 16 years and older, allows participants to demonstrate technical skills and critical thinking abilities through software, web, and game design.

Among the fall winners is a team from two schools--the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta--which created an online forum where non-governmental organizations, volunteers, donors, and vendors can interact and share resources. The Mogollar team from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock created a repository for video archives to help manage the digital data that hospitals generate. A team from the University of Houston developed a game in which players score points by collecting, sorting, and recycling different items.

"The Imagine Cup is a unique opportunity for students to help solve real-world problems while gaining experience outside the classroom," said Anthony Salcito, VP for Worldwide Education at Microsoft. "Developing technology innovations, working in a team environment and understanding how to create a viable business plan are invaluable to students who want to successfully achieve careers in today's world."

Along with the competition, Microsoft provides free access to developer and designer software through its DreamSpark program, training through the Microsoft IT Academy program, and connections to potential employers through the Students to Business program.

Finalists in the fall and spring contests will win cash prizes and head to the Washington, D.C.-based US finals in April. From there, the winning team will compete in the worldwide finals, taking place in Warsaw, Poland in July.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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